My heart really went out to Lauren. As strong as she became and did whatever she could to survive, this chapter really depressed me.
Enjoy… (if you can)
A week had passed, but the shame had not and the pain in her wrist from slapping Tyler’s steel jaw was a constant reminder of what she had done.
Of all the things she was trying to prove to Tyler, being a slut was far from that.
On top of that, Lauren was constantly dreaming of her honeymoon night, except Dylan wasn’t there humping and heaving over her. Each night for the past week, the man in her dreams was Tyler and just as she was about to come…
He collapsed on her body leaving her in disappointment and looking down at her salaciously. “I knew you what you were,” he would say satisfied.
Awaking in shame constantly had started to grate on her nerves.
She also felt awful for leaving Deborah in a lurch, but Lauren couldn’t, as much as she needed to the money, dare walk into that office, even if she knew Tyler wasn’t going to be there. He had a way of just showing up.
After a week, money was running low – very low and she needed to work. Lauren called the temp company she worked for a week and would be pressed to voicemail. No one would return her calls.
Desperation was coming and Lauren was scared of what was eventually going to happen.
She knew no one would help her and she had nowhere to go.
If she accepted Tyler’s offer, she would have to take his money and leave town and never even think of seeing Dylan or Detroit again.
She would be the whore everyone thought she was and Lauren didn’t know if she could live her life in a city where everyone knew her as a whore.
It was a Sunday morning and Lauren knew trying to call the temp company this morning would be futile No one worked on Sunday.
Getting up from the cot, her body still ached and she swore when she made enough money, she would buy a bed that made it feel like she slept on clouds, she didn’t care how much the mattress cost.
Going to her bag of food, there was one slice of bread in there and peanut butter. She had to use her finger to put the spread on the bread. She didn’t have tea, so she had to drink the metallic tasting water from the faucet.
Detroit had great water, but there was nothing the city could do about the pipes the water came out of and the landlord didn’t care about the old pipes in the house.
She almost gagged, but she took deep breaths because she didn’t want to throw up her last meal.
Her minute phone rung and she scrambled back to her room to see who would be calling her.
The display read, ‘AzHole Black.’
She pushed the call to voicemail and wanted to throw the phone away, but it was her only phone. Right about now, she had about twenty minutes left on the phone, but it was the most valuable item she owned, except her mother’s wedding dress and she would never get rid of that.
The phone rung again.
It was him again!
Lauren stared at the display for a long minute and then answered the call. “You got real nerve, Tyler Black.”
“Shut the fuck up. Most likely, you only have a couple of minutes for a real conversation, so I’m not calling for my health, but if you use some common sense and understand I am your only solution to your problem, you’ll accept my offer.”
She hung up the phone and took out the battery.
She was not going to allow Tyler Black try to convince her she needed to become his whore as her last option.
Monday morning she knew the landlord would come knocking at her door for rent and she would not be able to pay him the money he wanted. She packed up everything she could carry and rolled her trunk out of the basement. She caught the bus back over to the storage area and arranged everything so she could sleep there. With a solar battery, she was able to use it to charge her phone and stayed there until the morning.
There were not a lot of options for someone who had been blackballed from all the temp services in the Metro Detroit area. Getting a regular office job was going to be even more difficult because what references would she use? Tyler?
She could get a minimum wage job, but she needed money fast to survive, not in two weeks.
Tuesday morning, Lauen knew the local hardware store always had guys pulling up with trucks who needed laborers they could pay for cheap under the table.
She knew this because the hardware store was right by the convenience store and she heard people talk early in the morning or late at night.
Tucking her hair in a hate and wearing large pants and a large jacket she took out of a pile of garbage in her backyard, she was able to stand there with the rest of the guys and just look like a really young boy.
A week of laboring at odd jobs and she had enough to buy food, a bottle of Febreeze, two gallons of water and soap.
The solar battery she kept outside in the sun at various jobs to charge during the day, so at night she could keep her phone on. She was eventually able to buy a small light but only used this at night to get ready to go to sleep and in the morning to get ready to go to work.
Going to sleep with every muscle in her body aching kept her from crying. She was too tired to cry. Too tired to think. She would work herself into exhaustion and sometimes missed her stop at the end of the workday because she was sleeping on the bus.
By the third week, she had gotten a lantern she could use at night to read her books and could finally wash her clothes instead of Febreezing them all the time.
Lauren kept to herself. Inside, her soul was slowly dying. To be reduced to this life of living knowing if her parents were alive, she would be so ashamed of her. Her business plan was almost done and Lauren determined she might have to just up and leave the state in order to be able to get on her feet.
It felt as if no one would ever forget the miscommunication and at this point, there was no way rectify anything.
At the end of the next week, Lauren had made friends with the librarian a block away from the storage unit and had convinced the woman to warm up a half gallon of water for her to pick up on her way home. The bus dropped her off right in front of the library and sometimes before Lauren would go home, she would stop in the library and work on the computer. Building her own business was always on her mind and getting those online programs and keeping up with the current technology was important to her.
Although she was doing physical labor now, she didn’t want to lose the only real skill she had.
The librarian greeted Lauren today when she came into the library.
“I got a surprise for you,” the librarian said and motioned Lauren to the back room where the only employees were allowed to go.
Lauren followed the women, who led her to an employee’s bathroom. There was a pair of jeans in Lauren’s size, some new underwear, and a thick sweater. At the bottom of this pile of clothes was a Carhartt jacket, something of a novelty and very expensive, but extremely warm.
“You bought this?” Lauren questioned.
“It’s a gift. Merry Christmas,” the librarian said handing Lauren the sweetest smelling soap and a washcloth. “You can wash up here before you go home. The library doesn’t close for another couple of hours. We’ve got limited hours tomorrow and then we’ll be closed after that until the New Year. I thought I’d do something nice for you since it just feels you have no one to help you out during this holiday season.”
Grateful, Lauren hugged the woman and then ensconced herself in the bathroom.
She peeled the work clothes off herself and scrubbed herself up with the soap. She hadn’t smelled good in a very long time. Lauren even washed her hair despite it being cold outside and then quickly french braided her hair and tucked it back under her hat.
It felt wonderful smelling like a woman again. She was a little sad she had forgotten it was the day before Christmas Eve.
By the time she was all done, the library was about to close and she hurried out of there and rushed to the storage unit because her hair was still wet. The lantern gave enough heat in the storage locker to keep the cold out and tonight she kept it on a little longer because her hair was damp.
Unfortunately, Lauren ended up going to sleep with the lamp on, which she usually never did.
A noise in the middle of the night awoke Lauren from a dead sleep. She sat up on the trunk in the darkness, turned off the lamp and listened.
Someone was in the storage unit, coming down the hallway. The place had 24-hour access, but she had never heard anyone there in the middle of the night before.
There had been rats scurrying outside and Lauren kept her mother’s wedding dress tucked at the door at night to keep them from coming to her unit.
The footsteps stopped right in front of her unit and she thought her heart had stopped as well. Had the administration figured out she was living there?
Three knocks came to the door of her unit and Lauren almost jumped right out of her skin. She covered her mouth to muffle the scream.
“Lauren, I know you’re in there,” Tyler said on the other side of the storage container door.
“Tyler?” she questioned shocked to hear his voice.
“Open the door, now,” he ordered.
She reluctantly obeyed and let him come into the container praying the security cameras hadn’t recorded him and alerted the administration she was living in there.
Locking the door behind him, they were completely in the dark until she went over to re-light the lantern.
Tyler was dressed in jeans and a very warm jacket. He actually had a winter hat on. Seeing him not in a suit was strange, but he still looked handsome. She was almost fooled to put her guard down until she saw the disgusted scowl on his face.
Keeping her voice low, she asked, “What are you doing here? How did you know I was here?”
“I followed you,” he said annoyed.
She rushed over to him and put her hand over his mouth. “Keep your voice down. The cameras in the hallway can record sound too. I don’t need any attention drawn to me.”
He pulled her hand away. “This was not how Deborah expected you to use this unit,” he hissed.
“You think I enjoy living like this, Tyler?” she hissed back. “You think I want to live like this? I’ve been blackballed and Dylan’s not coming back for years according to Deborah. It’s the middle of winter, I’m low on money and I’m not about to freeze on the street. I’m doing what I can.”
“I think we can both agree you’re scraping the bottom of the bucket, Lauren. Accept my terms. It will stay with you and I. I’ll even insist I sign a nondisclosure agreement. I won’t say a word to anyone.”
She started to slap him again, but he was prepared and grabbed her wrist.
Yanking away from him, she seethed, “You’re despicable, Tyler! You’re trying to force me to do something I don’t want to do! I’m not a whore! I’ve never been a whore!”
“I’m forcing you to use what you got to get ahead,” he justified.
“I hate you!” she snarled.
“This has nothing to do with how you feel about me, Lauren. This has everything to do with how you’re living or how you want to live.” He took an envelope from his jacket and tossed it on the trunk. “Eight thousand dollars is in there.”
Lauren looked longingly at the envelope and dropped her shoulders in shame.
“Are you going to give me what I want?” Tyler questioned.
Tears rolled down her face as she looked at him totally dejected, but she had a feeling no matter how she looked Tyler could careless. He just wanted to have her sexually as a notch on his belt and to completely degrade and humiliate her.
Sobbing, she went over to the trunk and picked up the envelope. “H-How many times will you humiliate me like this, Tyler?” she asked defeated, cutting her eyes at him over her shoulder.
He looked shocked for a moment, but then blurted out, “Six.”
Lauren turned away from him, clutching the money to her chest. In her hands, she held the money that could help her get back on her feet. Looking down at her callous fingers holding the envelope, she realized she was holding the cure for all the pain she was currently suffering… all she had to do was have sex with Tyler Black.
Wiping the tears from her face, Lauren took a deep long breath and blew out the air through her lips. At this point, what did she really have to lose?
She had lost everything and holding this money, it was foolish to think Dylan was ever really going to come around. Most likely she would never set eyes on him again.
Internally she squashed her dreams of a happily ever after. She would never fall in love. She would never be someone’s wife and most of all, she would never have a perfect life.
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To read the other Black Family Series, go to the series page. (Each one is a standalone story and it should be a saga and not a series, but I don’t feel like changing the page name).